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Bianca, Yuka, Dottie make cut

I go pretty much shot by shot and not get too far ahead of myself.

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Bianca Pagdanganan slips in the standings after a roller-coaster first nine and a costly double bogey at the back in the Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, New Jersey. | Sarah Stier/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Bianca Pagdanganan, Yuka Saso and Dottie Ardina made the cut in the Cognizant Founders Cup at the Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, New Jersey Friday.

Pagdanganan, however, faded out of contention after posting one-over par 73 in the second round.

The difference was day and night as the 24-year-old Filipina marred her inward trip with a double bogey on the third hole.

From joint fourth, Pagdanganan slipped to a share of 22nd place on 5-under 139, nine shots off clubhouse leader Minjee Lee of Australia.

Meanwhile, Saso started like a house on fire on the back nine, reaching the turn on 5-under before settling for 68 and 4-under for the tournament.

The 20-year-old Filipino-Japanese, who started on 10, opened with back-to-back birdies, eagled 14 and gained another stroke on 16. She birdied 2 before picking up bogeys on 5 and 9.

Ardina, on the other hand, made the cut on 1-under after carding a 70 built around three birdies against a single bogey.

After posting her best start of her career — a 66 — on Thursday, Pagdanganan struggled to keep control in the opening nine.

She alternated birdies with bogeys in the first six holes before gaining a stroke on 18 to get to 1-under at the turn.

However, Pagdanganan won’t get another birdie coming home while dropping two shots on 3, a par-4.

Her driving average went down to 252 yards as she wrestled with errant tee shots, missing eight of 14 fairways.

As a result, she missed six greens.

Australia’s Minjee Lee matched her career-low with a nine-under-par 63 to seize a three-stroke lead.

World No. 5 Lee stood on 14-under 130 after 36 holes.

The 25-year-old needed only 23 putts and fired eight birdies and an eagle against a lone bogey to surge ahead of 18-hole leader Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden and Americans Ally Ewing and Lexi Thompson on 133.

“I go pretty much shot by shot and not get too far ahead of myself. When I had a putt I tried to hole it. When I had a shot I tried to hit it close,” Lee said.

“Hitting it close really helps you, really just frees you up. Even with the short putts it’s just like a little more confidence boost.”

“I did hole a few long birdie putts as well, so that was nice, to keep the momentum going as well.”

Lee seeks her seventh career LPGA victory and the first since taking her first major crown last year at the Evian Championship in France. She shared second at Singapore in March and third in April at Los Angeles.

“Maybe this will be the first one (in 2022) and it’ll kick start the rest of the year,” Lee said. “I’m just going to go in with the same mindset, just go shot by shot.”

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